Smooth, golden, and hard this tangerine sized seed results from the sweet smelling buckeye flower and seems like a delightful cross between an apple and a nut. But, beware, this plant is so poisonous that beekeepers are advised to not place the hives near the flower because it can kill the industrious creatures. And, in fact, the fruit is so lethal that only one animal eats it–the ground squirrel.
However, the native people on the North Coast utilized nearly the whole plant. Even though these seeds are poisonous raw, the Indians used to pound the seeds into flour and leech the toxins out through an incredibly laborious process. The Pomo used the meal from this even when other food was plentiful and made a poltice from the bark for snakebites. Most tribes would mash the seeds, pour the result into fishing holes in order to harvest the resulting stupified or dead fish.
Apparently the plant has some sort of mindmelding properties. I was planning on posting about the buckeye today when I say Elaine of Willits Daily Photos had already put a nice piece out with a nearly identical photo!